Tonight’s City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs features Paul Vallas, rated recently By Chicago Magazine as the No. 1 candidate in the February 26, 2019 Chicago Mayoral election.
The show, Part 1 of 2 shows with Vallas, airs throughout the City at 8:30 pm and midnight on Cable Ch. 21 [CAN TV].
The show also airs in Evanston twice daily this week, starting today at 8:30 am and 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 6
Part 2 of the two part Vallas series, focusing more on substantive issues and less on public corruption, airs in this time slot next Monday night.
--Vallas takes on the Dem. Party Machine early in his political career and currently
Vallas came within two points in 2002 of beating the Democratic Party Machine when it chose to support Rod Blagojevich in the Democratic Gubernatorial Primary.
Going to his current Machine Battle, Vallas discusses and debates tonight a number of "Burke Four," issues with show host Jeff Berkowitz.
A criminal complaint was filed by the U. S. Attorney's Office in the N. D. of IL on Jan. 2, 2019 accusing Chicago Ald. Ed. Burke of engaging in a shakedown in 2017 that sought to illegally use his power as an Alderman and Chairman, Finance Committee to obtain business for his law firm from an owner of about 100 restaurants in a 6 county area surrounding Chicago.
--Who are the Burke Four and what ties them to Burke?
Vallas views four of his opponents in the Mayor’s race: Toni Preckwinkle, Susana Mendoza, Gery Chico and Bill Daley as the Burke Four, due to their strong monetary and other connections to the 75 year old Alderman, Ed Burke.
For example, Ald. Burke raised about $115,000 for Cook County Board President Preckwinkle in support of her re-election effort re the County Board Presidency. Also, as a part of his shakedown, Burke is accused of inducing a restaurant owner to give a 10 K contribution to Preckwinkle.
Preckwinkle in turn has been accused of returning some of Burke's favors by giving a $100, 000 year Cook County job to Burke's son, even though Burke’s son was up to his eyeballs in allegations of sexual misconduct in his prior job in Sheriff Tom Dart’s office. Did Preckwinkle call Dart and endeavor to find out if Burke’s son was in good standing in that job? She did talk to Ald. Burke about hiring his son.
Comptroller and Mayor Candidate Mendoza was married in Ald. Burke's home and she has thanked him for mentoring her and helping her in her election to State Rep., City Clerk and State Comptroller. Questions have been raised as to what Burke expects in return.
Mayor Candidate Bill Daley and his family have apparently had long time relationships and deals, political and otherwise, with Ed Burke, including Burke’s support of Richard M. Daley in 1989 for Mayor in exchange for the Daleys supporting Ed Burke for Finance Chair.
Gery Chico also apparently has had long time deals and arrangements with Ald. Burke. In this race, Burke essentially endorsed Chico for Mayor. Chico has now said that Burke just said Chico was the best qualified to be Mayor, which Chico didn’t think of as an endorsement. And, in any case, Chico would decline Burke’s endorsement now.
Because of Burke’s fall from grace and the Burke Four’s known prior relationships with Ald. Burke, Preckwinkle, Mendoza, Daley and Chico have spent a lot of time since the Feds filed their complaint trying to argue their relationship w Burke is not that strong, that they are not indebted to Burke and that they do not approve of the shakedown of which he is accused.
--Burke Four jump on the Reform Bandwagon?
Moreover, the Burke Four have now joined other Mayoral candidates in arguing for reforms that might curtail shakedowns and other improper activities. For example, Vallas now favors eliminating the Alderman's privilege and outside income, which might cut down on the incentive and ability of aldermen to use their office for personal gain, and the Burke Four are now jumping on that bandwagon, says Vallas.
--How Vallas differs from Burke Four
Throughout tonight’s show, Berkowitz discusses with Vallas how he thinks Burke and the Burke Four have sponsored and supported for "Pay to Play," in Chicago and how Vallas has fought Pay to Play and run or acted against it much of his career.
For example, Vallas said Mayor Daley turned on Vallas when Vallas was CPS CEO because Vallas preferred giving contracts to low bidders and minorities (affirmative action), instead of Daley's friends.
Berkowitz also discusses with Vallas what he perceives as Mayoral Candidate McCarthy's (not a member of the Burke Four) and Mayor's Emanual's mismanagement that may have been partly responsible for Jason Van Dyke's murder of Laquan McDonald.
--Vallas & Chico Differences
Vallas describes how his behavior as CPS CEO, and subsequent activities, was totally inconsistent with being a machine or pay to play person. Vallas also describes how his ability to manage and turnaround large organizations make him the most likely mayoral candidate to succeed.
Vallas argues Chico took advantage of his government positions to hustle business and Vallas never did that. Moreover, Vallas contends he did not have the power to restrain that kind of activity by Chico when Vallas was CPS CEO from 1995 to 2001 and Chico was President of the CPS Board.